Aphorisms, heuristics, principles and observations

Kevin B KreitmanÓ 1998


Kreitman's conjecture:

The relationship between any process and its outcome is empirical.

In a closed system, you can discover, standardize and mandate Reliable Processes.

In an open system* however:

  1. The more closely you control for a particular process, the more open you must be to whatever outcome results;
  2. The more closely you control for outcome; the more open you must be to whatever process will create it.
  3. Therefore, you cannot simultaneously specify a particular outcome and the exact process steps by which it must be achieved.


Addendum (the good news):

--You can use meta-process heuristics and principles to guide a process.

--You can control iteratively for process and outcome.

-- But you need to start with the outcome first, or the process will drive the entire endeavor, with random results.

*An open system (as used here) is one where you do not have complete control over the inputs or the environment.


Heuristic: DON'T start at the beginning. Start with the desired results, and work backward.


On Vision Statements

If you can't derive metrics from your Vision Statement, you do not have a vision--you have a hallucination.



Kreitman's Rules for Reorganizations:

Don't Reorganize Unless:

You know what the current problem is, why it's happening, and what it will look like when it's right;

You know why the reorganization will fix the problem, and can support it (give it the authority and resources) to do so;

You know how the reorganization will fix the problem;

And you have exhausted or ruled out other alternatives


You have lots of time;

You have lots of money;

You're bored;

And the results of the reorganization don't matter.

Rule of the Universe #1: Reality

There is no single, definable reality; but there are material consequences to actions. Survival favors those whose realities continue to fit with the material consequences. 

On Problem Definition

1. Everybody knows what the problems are and exactly what would fix them; It's just that everybody knows something different. So there are at least as many "problems" and "solutions" as there are participants in a process.

2. Most people don't know what the "problem" is until they perceive a "solution." Then the problem gets framed in terms of the implied solution. (for the trap implicit in this, see Rule of the Universe, above).


The ultimate challenge for human communication: Words have no meaning.

The 80/20 Rule for Human Organizations

80% of the problems in organization are produced by the organizational policies, practices, processes, measurement systems and incentive systems. 20% are due to human frailties. Applying the 80/20 rule, where should you start?

 See: The ECCO System


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 Send me email at: kbk@well.com